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East Ridge senior Sam Scholz returns to help lead a strong Raptors swim team. Scholz has a shot at the 200-yard IM state title and the team is a serious contender for the state championship. (Bulletin file photo)

2013-14 Winter Preview: East Ridge boys swimming & diving team has shot at state championship

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Last year the East Ridge boys swimming and diving team made waves at the state meet. This year, with everyone back, the Raptors have a legitimate shot at becoming the school’s first state championship team.

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The East Ridge boys are 17-1 in dual meets the past two seasons, including riding a current 16-meet win streak. The Raptors went unbeaten last season and won the Suburban East Conference championship, then went on to place sixth at the 2013 Minnesota state meet.

East Ridge swimmers earned six all-state honors last year, while breaking nearly every school record.

Last year, East Ridge’s James Tidd and Kent Rabideaux each qualified for the state meet in the maximum four events. Both juniors are back this season. Also, Sam Scholz, now a senior, and junior Garrett Verhoeven each qualified for state in three events last season.

The Raptors qualified three of its four relay teams to state last year.

The East Ridge 200-yard freestyle relay team earned the Raptors’ highest placement at last year’s state meet, taking fourth. Individually, Scholz earned fifth place in the 200-yard individual medley and Rabideaux, Tidd and Verhoeven each placed in the top seven in their events, earning all-state honors.

In addition to team goals, a few Raptors could knock down some impressive records this year. Among others, Verhoeven was just a hair over 10 seconds off the all-time state record in the 500-yard freestyle at last year’s state meet and Scholz has a shot at breaking Greg Norsten’s Section 4AA record in the 200 IM, coming in just eight-hundredths of a second back of the Woodbury standout’s mark last year.

Just a few weeks ago, Billy Cuevas, the head coach of the East Ridge girls swimming and diving team, was named the new head coach of the East Ridge boys. Cuevas, an assistant for the Raptors boys for three of the past four years, takes the reins for Steve Webb, who left East Ridge after two seasons to become the head coach for the Augsburg College women’s swimming and diving program.

East Ridge kicks off the season with the annual conference relays at Stillwater Middle School on Dec. 5. The Raptors’ first dual is Dec. 12 at home against Hastings.

—Patrick Johnson

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Patrick Johnson
Patrick Johnson has been the South Washington County Bulletin’s sports editor since 2008. He reports on and oversees coverage of high school and amateur sports in south Washington County and Woodbury. Prior to joining the Bulletin, Johnson worked for other Twin Cities suburban newspapers. He is a University of Minnesota graduate.
(651) 319-4505
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